- Photo: Getty/metamorworks

Photo: Getty/metamorworks

GPS tracking has come a long way from dots-on-the-map tracking to an increasingly crucial fleet and business tool that gives visibility and detailed insights into every aspect of fleet operations.

These tools can help you accomplish your short- and long-term goals, by improving efficiency and, most importantly, drive savings and revenue directly to the bottom line. While there are many ways that a telematics solution can meet your fleet and your company’s business needs, the following five show just how much of an impact GPS tracking technology can improve operations and save money: 

1. Cutting Fuel Spend 

It’s no secret; fuel is one of the biggest cost centers for a fleet operation. And it’s likely that most fleet managers have it as a goal to cut there fuel spend.

Telematics is among the most powerful tools that fleet managers have at their disposal to cut their fuel spends. There are several ways they can do so:

  • Cutting idling: Idling is one of the most fuel wasting behaviors. Depending on the vehicle type, an hour of idling can waste anywhere from 1/5 to a gallon of fuel per hour, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. Spread that amount of wasted fuel across several hundred or even several thousand vehicles and the costs add up quickly. How telematics can help: There are several ways telematics can help fleets minimize idling, including setting alerts and shutting off the engine automatically after an “acceptable” idle time has been reached.
  • Monitoring driver behavior: Aggressive driving wastes significant amounts of fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that aggressive driving can lower mileage by between 15% and 30% at highway speeds and between 10% and 40% in stop-and-go traffic. How telematics can help: In many telematics solutions, alerts can be set to notify a fleet and/or driver’s manager about any aggressive driving behaviors. This opens the opportunity to coach wasteful drivers on so-called “eco-driving” techniques that both saves fuel and lowers driver risk.
  • Saving at the pump: There are a number of ways that drivers can waste fuel at the pump—using higher-than-necessary, more expensive grades of gasoline; filling up at stations that generally have higher prices, and, in extreme cases, filling up an extra vehicle on the company’s dime. How telematics can help: Many telematics systems, in conjunction with fleet fuel cards, can monitor how often and how much fuel a driver is using. Route optimization can also help identify preferred stations for fill ups.

2. Reducing Risk and Liability

As outlined above, a telematics solution can be used to help fleet and driver managers monitor aggressive and risky driver behavior. 

This opens the door to enhanced, one-on-one coaching or other actions per fleet policy, including loss of driving privileges or even — in extreme cases — termination.

The net result for this type of monitoring is cutting risk and the likelihood of a crash, saving maintenance and downtime costs, which, in an injury crash, average about $70,000. It also saves fleets and their companies the potential for ruinous liability payments that can reach into the millions of dollars in direct costs and millions more in indirect, reputational costs due to negative publicity.

3. Increasing Driver Accountability 

Driver accountability isn’t just about measuring and minimizing risk. With a growing number of telematics solutions, driver performance outside the cabin is also being measured. 

Are drivers arriving on time, are they spending the correct amount of time at the jobsite, are they completing electronic paperwork to show they’ve completed the work to be done? Workforce management is a powerful tool within telematics that can improve efficiency, productivity, billing, and timecard management.

Telematics can also help fleet and driver managers identify unauthorized after-hours use of vehicles, making sure that vehicle assets are not being used for side jobs or in other ways that could reflect negatively on the company.

4. Increasing Back-Office Efficiency

With the ability to integrate telematics solutions with other fleet management and back-office business solutions, inefficient technological silos can be broken down.

With its ability to monitor every aspect of vehicle and driver operations, telematics is an ideal tool to feed data to these systems.

The result is better visibility into business operations, such as a complete picture of vehicle total cost of ownership down to the penny, a better understanding of how much each customer interaction costs the company, and a better handle on personnel costs.

With this information in hand, vehicle spec’ing, pricing, and salaries can all be better managed to ensure that the company remains profitable.

5. Improving Customer Satisfaction

Today’s customers have high expectations and meeting them can sometimes be challenging. With a GPS fleet system and near-real time monitoring capabilities, fleets can now give up-to-the-minute arrival information for delivery and service appointments.

Being able to manage customer expectations, including communicating delays or even a cancellation as soon as possible will go a long way to retain that customer for the long term. Customer loyalty is a powerful path to profitability through word of mouth and social media referrals. 

Without telematics, it is nearly impossible to provide this level of customer service.

Keys to Success

Telematics offers fleets a number of tangible ways to improve efficiency and productivity that goes directly to the bottom line because it:

  • Provides greater visibility
  • Encourages accountability and ongoing improvement
  • Improves communication throughout the organization and beyond

While it’s not necessary to have a telematics solution—at least not yet—for fleets looking for a competitive edge, it’s one of the best tools available today. To find out more get free quotes from top GPS tracking suppliers at businessfleet.com.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

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